MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State proudly presents the fifth annual “Swingin’ Memories” Homecoming dance on Friday, Oct. 18, featuring the award-winning Murray State University Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Band. The event will take place in the Brightside Room of Tap 216 at the corner of Olive Boulevard and 15th Street in Murray, Kentucky. The two twenty-member ensembles are under the direction of Dr. Todd E. Hill, professor of music.
The Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Band will feature swing tunes from the 1930s and 40s as well as some later hits up through the 1960s. Music featured will include hits made famous by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, Les Brown, Count Basie and many others. The two groups will play from 8–10:30 p.m.
“This is such a terrific opportunity for these music students,” said Hill, a longtime professional bandleader whose professional band has been playing dances for over 35 years. “They get to experience playing for dancers, and the basis of all jazz is that it should have a danceable beat, so what better way to feel the give and take that motion brings to the music? Those who don’t care to dance are more than welcome to just come, listen and enjoy the music.”
Tunes used by many of the Murray State dance bands from the swing period will be featured, including those led by Billy Shelton, Len Foster, Jim Fern, Leroy Offerman, Billy Crosswy, the Phi Mu Alpha “Men of Note” bands and regional favorites like Jack Staulcup, Tom Lonardo and Chuck Simons.
The admission fee is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Further donations are welcome. All profits will go toward the Murray State jazz program.
During Hill’s tenure, the Murray State Jazz Orchestra has won auditions at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, performed four times for the Kentucky Music Educators Association Conference and for the fourth time, they will appear at the nation’s oldest event of its kind: the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival (also in Chicago) this February. They presently have four albums in release, one of which qualified for Grammy nomination.